2. Corey Kluber
The Yankees had a noticeable “in” when it came to Corey Kluber’s free agent showcase this winter, thanks to his proximity to New York’s strength and conditioning leader Eric Cressey.
Ultimately, thanks to a mini-bidding war, Kluber ended up a Yankee for the cost of $11 million…an interesting total for a non-sure thing, but hey, there’s no cap in baseball, and there’s the oft-chance you’re purchasing a Cy Young winner.
Over the first two months of the year, the Klubot went from bleak to wonderful, scuffling until the end of April before locking into place, peaking during a no-hitter in Texas. Unfortunately, he broke down in his next start, suffering a shoulder injury that’s only recently healed enough for a rehab assignment.
Would you ink this contract again, if you were Brian Cashman? The highs were extremely high, and Kluber should have enough time to knock the rust off prior to the stretch run. All in all, you pay what you have to pay to secure talent like that, and there were a few very valuable pre-injury starts in that mid-May period.
Ultimately, though, it’s clear the Yankees’ other rebound candidate will be more a part of this team moving forward, as Jameson Taillon’s carried a 1.80-ish ERA for around two midsummer months now. The Kluber deal was as fine as a one-year flyer can be, and it still might pay extra dividends. It’s also true that you can never have too much pitching…but if that adage holds true, you probably want to spend your money on extra pitching with a high probability of being available.
Thanks so much, Klubes, but pending a wild run in September, he’ll probably be a one-year wonder in the Bronx…then go to Toronto and stay healthy for all of 2022. Dammit.